The roots of the European Union can be traced back to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC). The ECSC was formed in the 1951 Treaty of Paris with six countries initially being member states, forming a common market for coal and steel. The EEC was formed from the 1957 Treaty of Rome, between six countries at first. Its intentions focused around bringing economic integration including a customs union and a commons market. Both these organisations were founding points of the European Union.
The EU is a political and economic union of 28 states, with a total population of over 500 million. Their policies focus around ensuring the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. They also provide for legislation in justice and home affairs whilst maintaining common policy within the 28 states on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development.
In 1973 the United Kingdom became a member of the European Union (EU). On the 23rd of June 2016 the United Kingdom are holding a referendum on whether the UK should remain a country in the European Union or whether the country should leave.